Choir boy Cook’s Christmas carol
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When Stuart Broad peevishly noted in a tweet directed at certain "ex playing experts being negative", 28 years had elapsed since England last won a Test series in India. The wait might now be over, thanks to a saviour who was born at the very midpoint of that triumphant tour.
On Christmas Day 1984, eight days after Tim Robinson (aka John the Baptist) had set up a series-levelling win in Delhi with his first-innings 160, and a few weeks before the three wise men, Mike Gatting (207), Graeme Fowler (201) and Neil Foster (11 for 163), delivered India their epiphany at Madras, Alastair Cook was sent down to earth to heal English cricket.
Lest we forget the sickness with which he was confronted, Cook was appointed England captain at the end of the recent English summer. Kevin Pietersen at the time was an unrepentant sinner, banished to the wilderness. South Africa had seized England's mantle as the world's No.1 Test team and ended the career of Andrew Strauss in the process. If England were to overcome that level of upheaval and triumph in India of all places, it was going to require, well, a miracle.
Well, just look at what has now come to pass. Since his appointment Cook has racked up three hundreds in consecutive games, making five in five in all Tests as England captain.
He's notched 23 in his entire career, more than any of his countrymen has ever amassed, as well as the small matter of 7,000 Test runs at a younger age than even Sachin Tendulkar. Two winters ago, Cook secured England's first series win in Australia for 24 years with a tally of 766 runs and three big hundreds. In March 2006, he flew halfway around the world to score a century on debut in Nagpur.